Life direct...is what Flaubert and Joyce have convinced themselves the man may never get quite clear of but the artist has nothing to do with. What they can't admit is that t is overrated: which artists, faking and fumbling it together out of spit and toothpicks, should know best of all.
How joyful to be together, alone as when we first were joined in our little house by the river long ago, except that now we know each other, as we did not then; and now instead of two stories fumbling to meet, we belong to one story that the two, joining, made. And now we touch each other with the tenderness of mortals, who know themselves
You cannot see what I see because you see what you see. You cannot know what I know because you know what you know. What I see and what I know cannot be added to what you see and what you know because they are not of the same kind. Neither can it replace what you see and what you know, because that would be to replace you yourself." "Hang on, can I write this down?" said Arthur, excitedly fumbling in his pocket for a pencil.
The subconscious is like having a laboratory assistant who pretends to love you and help you, but after you go home to go to sleep it goes back into the lab and starts fumbling with the data and destroying it. It's a very tricky thing. People think our minds are us, but that's not true at all. The mind is not us.
The family circle has widened. The worldpool of information fathered by the electric media--movies, Telstar, flight--far surpassesany possible influence mom and dad can now bring to bear. Character no longer is shaped by only two earnest, fumbling experts. Now all the world's a sage.
She read her way around the library, hungry for journeys, adventures, laughter and passion. She took each new book to bed like a lover, savouring every chapter, going too far some nights until the letters danced like insects and she was groggy next day at work. But still she'd sneak away for lunchtime trysts, her eager fingers fumbling for the bookmark.
I have begun to wonder where I came from. The person I am now, this fumbling, stumbling supplicant... was I built on the foundations of my old life, or did I rise from the grave a blank state? How much of me is inherited, and how much is my own creation? Questions that were once just idle musings have begun to feel strangely urgent. Am I firmly rooted to what came before? Or can I choose to deviate?
We pay a heavy price for our fear of failure. It is a powerful obstacle to growth. It assures the progressive narrowing of the personality and prevents exploration and experimentation. There is no learning without some difficulty and fumbling. If you want to keep on learning, you must keep on risking failure-all your life.
John W. Gardner
When, and how, and at what stage of our development did spirituality and our strange notions of religion arise? the need for worship which is nothing more than our frightened refuge into propitiation of a Creator we do not understand? A detective story, the supreme Who-done-it, written in indecipherable hieroglyphics, no Rosetta stone supplied by the consummate Mystifier to tease us poor fumbling unravellers of his plot.
Government! Three-fourths parasitic and the rest stupid fumbling - oh, Harshaw concluded that man, a social animal, could not avoid government, any more than an individual could escape bondage to his bowels. But simply because an evil was inescapable was no reason to term it "good." He wished that government would wander off and get lost! (96)
Robert A. Heinlein
I am a member of a fragile species, still new to the earth, the youngest creatures of any scale, here only a few moments as evolutionary time is measured, a juvenile species, a child of a species. We are only tentatively set in place, error prone, at risk of fumbling, in real danger at the moment of leaving behind only a thin layer of of our fossils, radioactive at that.
Her lips are like pillows of warm glass. It is strange to find her resistant for even a second, since she has been the kisser and not the kissed. It wasn't like the last time, which felt fumbling and unnatural. That time wasn't off-putting, just like kissing one's sister. This kiss, my kiss, was tingling sweetness, electric apple blossoms.
Some parents were awful back then and are awful still. The process of raising you didn't turn them into grown-ups. Parents who were clearly imperfect can be helpful to you. As you were trying to grow up despite their fumbling efforts, you had to develop skills and tolerances other kids missed out on. Some of the strongest people I know grew up taking care of inept, invalid, or psychotic parents--but they know the parents weren't normal, healthy, or whole.
His ears caught a sweet chiming noise, and a moment later a warm rush fell over his body. How we doing Rhage? Too hot? Butch's voice. Up close. The cop was in the shower with him. And he smelled Turkish tobacco. V must be in the bathroom too. Hollywood? This too hot for you? No. He reached around for the soap, fumbling. Can't see. Just as well. No reason for you to know what we look naked together. Frankly, I'm traumatized enough for the both of us. Rhage smiled a little as a washcloth scrubbed over his face, neck and chest.
You cannot explain, with the limitations of language and inexperience, why your body can cause such a sudden, fumbling response in someone else, nor can you put into exact words what you feel about your body, explain the thrum it feels in proximity to another warm-skinned form. What you feel is a tangle of contradictions: power, pleasure, fear, shame, exultation, some strange wish to make noise. You cannot say how those things knit themselves together somewhere in the lower abdomen and pulse.
I'd been kissed before. Many times. There were awkward and sloppy kisses, those tension-fraught moments of fumbling intensity as a teenager. There were more skilled kisses, passionate and intentional. There were kisses that stole my breath, kisses that merged seamlessly with the shedding of clothes and the joining of bodies. But never, before this moment, had there ever been a kiss that stole my will to pull away, that devoured my capacity for thought, that removed my ability to resist, to feel anything but the kiss.
So-called real life has only once interfered with me, and it had been a far cry from what the words, lines, books had prepared me for. Fate had to do with blind seers, oracles, choruses announcing death, not with panting next to the refrigerator, fumbling with condoms, waiting in a Honda parked round the corner and surreptitious encounters in a Lisbon hotel. Only the written word exists, everything one must do oneself is without form, subject to contingency without rhyme or reason. It takes too long. And if it ends badly the metre isn't right, and there's no way to cross things out.
Up and away for life! be fleet!- The frost-king ties my fumbling feet, Sings in my ears, my hands are stones, Curdles the blood to the marble bones, Tugs at the heart-strings, numbs the sense, And hems in life with narrowing fence. Well, in this broad bed lie and sleep,- The punctual stars will vigil keep,- Embalmed by purifying cold; The winds shall sing their dead-march old, The snow is no ignoble shroud, The moon thy mourner, and the cloud.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Gemma Davidson, ' she answered, her voice as groggy as I felt. 'Where are you?' I asked. 'Who is this?' 'Elvis.' 'What time is it?' 'Hammer time?' 'Charley.' 'Did you text me? Did your car break down?' 'No and no. Why are you doing this to me?' She was funny. 'Check your cell.' I heard a loud, sleepy sigh, some rustling of sheets, then, 'It won't come on.' 'Not at all?' 'No. What did you do to it?' 'I ate it for breakfast. Check the battery compartment.' 'Where the hell is that?' 'Um, behind the battery door.' 'Are you punking me?' I heard her fumbling with the phone. 'Gem, if I was going to punk you, I wouldn't simply turn off your phone. I would pour honey in your hair while you slept. Or, you know, something like that.' 'That was you?' she asked, appalled.
People over the age of thirty were born before the digital revolution really started. We've learned to use digital technology-laptops, cameras, personal digital assistants, the Internet-as adults, and it has been something like learning a foreign language. Most of us are okay, and some are even expert. We do e-mails and PowerPoint, surf the Internet, and feel we're at the cutting edge. But compared to most people under thirty and certainly under twenty, we are fumbling amateurs. People of that age were born after the digital revolution began. They learned to speak digital as a mother tongue.
They were all fitting into place, the jig-saw pieces. The odd strained shapes that I had tried to piece together with my fumbling fingers and they had never fitted. Frank's odd manner when I spoke about Rebecca. Beatrice and her rather diffident negative attitude. The silence that I had always taken for sympathy and regret was a silence born of shame and embarrassment. It seemed incredible to me now that I had never understood. I wondered how many people there were in the world who suffered, and continued to suffer, because they could not break out from their own web of shyness and reserve, and in their blindness and folly built up a great wall in front of them that hid the truth. This was what I had done. I had built up false pictures in my mind and sat before them. I had never had the courage to demand the truth. Had I made one step forward out of my own shyness Maxim would have told these things four months, five months ago.
Daphne du Maurier
The heart of the difference between cheap-grace doctrines of guilt-free existence and the Christian gospel is this: Modern chauvinism desperately avoids the message of guilt by treating it as a regrettable symptom. Christianity listens to the message of guilt by conscientious self-examination. Hedonism winks at sin. Christianity earnestly confesses sin. Secularism assumes it can extricate itself from gross misdeeds. Christianity looks to grace for divine forgiveness. Modern consciousness is its own fumbling attorney before the bar of conscience. Christianity rejoices that God himself has become our attorney. Modernity sees no reason to atone for or make reparation for wrongs. Christianity knows that unatoned sin brings on misery of conscience. Modern naturalism sees no meed for God. Christianity celebrates God's willingness to suffer four our sins and redeem us from guilt.
Thomas C. Oden
This week in live current events: your eyes. All power can be dangerous: Direct or alternating, you, socket to me. Plugged in and the grid is humming, this electricity, molecule-deep desire: particular friction, a charge strong enough to stop a heart or start it again; volt, re-volt- I shudder, I stutter, I start to life. I've got my ion you, copper-top, so watch how you conduct yourself. Here's today's newsflash: a battery of rolling blackouts in California, sudden, like lightning kisses: sudden, whitehot darkness and you're here, fumbling for that small switch with an urgent surge strong enough to kill lesser machines. Static makes hair raise, makes things cling, makes things rise like a gathering storm charging outside our darkened house and here I am: tempest, pouring out mouthfulls of tsunami on the ground, I've got that rain-soaked kite, that drenched key. You know what it's for, circuit-breaker, you know how to kiss until it's hertz.
Hive Queen: They never know anything. They don't have enough years in their little lives to come to an understanding of anything at all. And yet they think they understand. From earliest childhood, they delude themselves into thinking they comprehend the world, while all that's really going on is that they've got some primitive assumptions and prejudices. As they get older they learn a more elevated vocabulary in which to express their mindless pseudo- knowledge and bully other people into accepting their prejudices as if they were truth, but it all amounts to the same thing. Individually, human beings are all dolts. Pequenino: While collectively... Hive Queen: Collectively, they're a collection of dolts. But in all their scurrying around and pretending to be wise, throwing out idiotic half-understood theories about this and that, one or two of them will come up with some idea that is just a little bit closer to the truth than what was already known. And in a sort of fumbling trial and error, about half the time the truth actually rises to the top and becomes accepted by people who still don't understand it, who simply adopt it as a new prejudice to be trusted blindly until the next dolt accidentally comes up with an improvement.> Pequenino: So you're saying that no one is ever individually intelligent, and groups are even stupider than individuals- and yet by keeping so many fools engaged in pretending to be intelligent, they still come up with some of the same results that an intelligent species would come up with. Hive Queen: Exactly.
Orson Scott Card
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs And towards our distant rest began to trudge. Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind; Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots Of disappointed shells that dropped behind. GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!- An ecstasy of fumbling, Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time; But someone still was yelling out and stumbling And floundering like a man in fire or lime.- Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light As under a green sea, I saw him drowning. In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning. If in some smothering dreams you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in, And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin; If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, - My friend, you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori.
Dulce Et Decorum Est Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs And towards our distant rest began to trudge. Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind; Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots Of disappointed shells that dropped behind. GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!- An ecstasy of fumbling, Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time; But someone still was yelling out and stumbling And floundering like a man in fire or lime.- Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light As under a green sea, I saw him drowning. In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning. If in some smothering dreams you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in, And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin; If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, - My friend, you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori.
Avalon is full of desperate people.' She bites at her lower lip this time, fumbling her hands, knitting her fingers into the bundle of plastic coin bags in her grasp. 'Are you implying that I'm desperate?' I say, one eyebrow tilting. 'You don't need to be desperate... you can have anyone... I... ' she trails off. Looking up and trying to search the line of shops for the bank. I repulse her, I make her want to run. Why is this so hard? I need to get inside of her, I need to know what she is thinking, what she is wanting. It surely isn't me she wants. Not to the extent that I... want her. 'You?' I entice her to finish her sentence but she doesn't, she stares off into the bustling crowds, memory flashing her eyes with a darkness. 'Madi wouldn't fumble like this.' Oh, she would fumble, but not in the way you are, Elli. 'You're not her, Elli.' I entice her again, trying to force the dark memory, the sadness from her. 'No, if I was, you wouldn't have wanted anyone else.' A breath hitches in her throat, she puts a hand over her mouth and says something else, her cheeks dance a shade of red that brightens and brightens until she apologises and quickens her pace. I chuckle, pulling at her arm and encircling one around her waist, pulling her back to me. Beneath my touch, her body trembles. When I raise my hand, my palm touching her cheek, I am sure she isn't breathing. 'I don't want anyone, Elli.' My eyes burn, consuming her with my gaze. She is like a frightful deer, struggling beneath me with a gaze that cannot quite meet mine. When she does, it is only for a brief second before falling down and all I see is the gentle flutter of her raven flashes. 'I told you. I want someone I cannot have.' 'That is a really harsh way of telling someone you're not interested.
STAINS With red clay between my toes, and the sun setting over my head, the ghost of my mother blows in, riding on a honeysuckle breeze, oh lord, riding on a honeysuckle breeze. Her teeth, the keys of a piano. I play her grinning ivory notes with cadenced fumbling fingers, splattered with paint, textured with scars. A song rises up from the belly of my past and rocks me in the bosom of buried memories. My mama's dress bears the stains of her life: blueberries, blood, bleach, and breast milk; She cradles in her arms a lifetime of love and sorrow; Its brilliance nearly blinds me. My fingers tire, as though I've played this song for years. The tune swells red, dying around the edges of a setting sun. A magnolia breeze blows in strong, a heavenly taxi sent to carry my mother home. She will not say goodbye. For there is no truth in spoken farewells. I am pregnant with a poem, my life lost in its stanzas. My mama steps out of her dress and drops it, an inheritance falling to my feet. She stands alone: bathed, blooming, burdened with nothing of this world. Her body is naked and beautiful, her wings gray and scorched, her brown eyes piercing the brown of mine. I watch her departure, her flapping wings: She doesn't look back, not even once, not even to whisper my name: Brenda. I lick the teeth of my piano mouth. With a painter's hands, with a writer's hands with rusty wrinkled hands, with hands soaked in the joys, the sorrows, the spills of my mother's life, I pick up eighty-one years of stains And pull her dress over my head. Her stains look good on me.
Brenda Sutton Rose
Live or die, but don't poison everything... Well, death's been here for a long time - it has a hell of a lot to do with hell and suspicion of the eye and the religious objects and how I mourned them when they were made obscene by my dwarf-heart's doodle. The chief ingredient is mutilation. And mud, day after day, mud like a ritual, and the baby on the platter, cooked but still human, cooked also with little maggots, sewn onto it maybe by somebody's mother, the damn bitch! Even so, I kept right on going on, a sort of human statement, lugging myself as if I were a sawed-off body in the trunk, the steamer trunk. This became perjury of the soul. It became an outright lie and even though I dressed the body it was still naked, still killed. It was caught in the first place at birth, like a fish. But I play it, dressed it up, dressed it up like somebody's doll. Is life something you play? And all the time wanting to get rid of it? And further, everyone yelling at you to shut up. And no wonder! People don't like to be told that you're sick and then be forced to watch you come down with the hammer. Today life opened inside me like an egg and there inside after considerable digging I found the answer. What a bargain! There was the sun, her yolk moving feverishly, tumbling her prize - and you realize she does this daily! I'd known she was a purifier but I hadn't thought she was solid, hadn't known she was an answer. God! It's a dream, lovers sprouting in the yard like celery stalks and better, a husband straight as a redwood, two daughters, two sea urchings, picking roses off my hackles. If I'm on fire they dance around it and cook marshmallows. And if I'm ice they simply skate on me in little ballet costumes. Here, all along, thinking I was a killer, anointing myself daily with my little poisons. But no. I'm an empress. I wear an apron. My typewriter writes. It didn't break the way it warned. Even crazy, I'm as nice as a chocolate bar. Even with the witches' gymnastics they trust my incalculable city, my corruptible bed. O dearest three, I make a soft reply. The witch comes on and you paint her pink. I come with kisses in my hood and the sun, the smart one, rolling in my arms. So I say Live and turn my shadow three times round to feed our puppies as they come, the eight Dalmatians we didn't drown, despite the warnings: The abort! The destroy! Despite the pails of water that waited, to drown them, to pull them down like stones, they came, each one headfirst, blowing bubbles the color of cataract-blue and fumbling for the tiny tits. Just last week, eight Dalmatians, 3/4 of a lb., lined up like cord wood each like a birch tree. I promise to love more if they come, because in spite of cruelty and the stuffed railroad cars for the ovens, I am not what I expected. Not an Eichmann. The poison just didn't take. So I won't hang around in my hospital shift, repeating The Black Mass and all of it. I say Live, Live because of the sun, the dream, the excitable gift.